Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area on Thursday received the final necessary approval for its new snowmaking system, General Manager Brad Wilson said.
The approval came from the Forest Service, which had to sign off on installing the system on the Deer Point and Coach portions of the mountain. Installation already was underway on Bogus Basin’s private land, including the Morning Star chairlift area.
Wilson expects to complete installation this fall, including a dam and reservoir along Bogus Creek, but it’s unclear how much the system can be used this winter. Bogus Basin’s water rights begin Nov. 15, so the ski area will need a significant amount of water to accumulate after that date to make snow.
The system will be fully operational for the 2019-20 season.
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The snowmaking system includes 24 mobile guns with capability of putting top-to-bottom snow from the Deer Point (Upper Ridge and Lower Ridge runs), Morning Star (Silver Queen and Lulu runs) and Coach (Coach’s Corner run) chairlifts. The system can make snow on the Deer Point or Morning Star sides of the property at one time. It also will be used on the tubing hill.
The $5 million project is being paid for through a capital campaign that generated more than $6 million for the non-profit ski area. Bogus Creek has been re-routed around the new pond, which has been excavated. Dam construction began this week.
Bogus Basin’s water rights run from roughly Nov. 15 to March 31, Wilson said. Water will be diverted from the creek into the pond during that time. In future years, the pond will have water at the beginning of the season from the previous spring.
“The issue this year will be that we’ll likely have the complete snowmaking system in place and constructed but we will not have time to collect water,” Wilson said. “... It will just depend on Mother Nature. Our expectation has been all along to not have the system operational till the fall of 2019, but if something happens and we can collect water this season, then we’ll go ahead and use the system.”